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Would people wage war if they knew how big the universe is?

Unread postPosted: Sat Nov 22, 2014 11:30 pm
by DouglasRiese1994
I want to get other people's opinion on this. I heard someone say that if people knew how big the universe was, they would laugh at the idea of going to war with each other when the universe is so big. Do you think that's true, that people would actually stop going to war if they knew how big the universe is? I don't expect anyone to know for sure if they would, I don't know either, I just want people's opinion's.

If anyone's wondering where I got this idea from, it's from the end of this video where an astrophysicist named Neil Degrasse Tyson is talking about the size of the universe. It's around the 9:30 mark: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ALs0QsVrYyE

Re: Would people wage war if they knew how big the universe

Unread postPosted: Sun Nov 23, 2014 12:04 am
by DragonAtma
Yes, they would. They shouldn't, but they would.

It's a bit like Richards Gatling's attempt to create a deadly gun to show how futile wars were. They still use a similar type today, a hundred and fifty years later, and wars still occur.

Re: Would people wage war if they knew how big the universe

Unread postPosted: Sun Nov 23, 2014 3:05 pm
by Gray Riders
I simply don't understand why he thinks understanding the size of the universe would have any effect on why wars are fought. His comment on killing people just to cross a line in the sand makes me think he doesn't understand why they're fought.

DragonAtma wrote:It's a bit like Richards Gatling's attempt to create a deadly gun to show how futile wars were. They still use a similar type today, a hundred and fifty years later, and wars still occur.

Pretty sure I read the same logic was used about bombers, too.

Edit: For further clarification, I'm of the mind that most (not all) wars are fought for either greed (for resources or land or even income from trading or to forcibly open up markets) or hatred/revenge. I don't really think understanding the cosmic insignificance any nation ultimately has or how much there is to see out there would temper either of those reasons.

Re: Would people wage war if they knew how big the universe

Unread postPosted: Mon Nov 24, 2014 7:51 am
by Dong Zhou
I don't see it changing human nature. Even if it sunk in how big the universe is, that is more likely to affect religion, technology, philosophy but I struggle to think of wars that would be stopped by knowing the size of the universe.

Re: Would people wage war if they knew how big the universe

Unread postPosted: Mon Nov 24, 2014 1:56 pm
by Shikanosuke
I fail to see how the knowledge of how vast the universe is would impact us in any meaningful fashion at all. We still have a finite lifetime on a world with finite resources and humans with faults and ambitions. The vastness of the universe is for thinkers to ponder, but it has no real life impact at this time for us.

Re: Would people wage war if they knew how big the universe

Unread postPosted: Mon Nov 24, 2014 7:00 pm
by Sun Fin
All it means is someday there might be more territory to conquer.

Re: Would people wage war if they knew how big the universe

Unread postPosted: Mon Nov 24, 2014 7:13 pm
by James
If the question is changed to something more along the lines of *experience* how big the universe is, then perhaps it should have an impact. Human nature is to view the world from the bubble surrounding us. It's why one person stresses more about cleaning dishes than most any other trial in life and another about feeding their starving children. Or why the conflict with a neighbor seems so credible while a conflict with another country seems a bit more distant.

When I think of this I think of Carl Sagan's Pale Blue Dot.

When you're able to take a step back and see a bigger picture what you see changes, and local grievances and concerns can quickly appear far more petty. Which is why I think taking many steps back could lend some insight. What I don't have faith in, though, is that those people, having taken steps back and contemplated, however briefly, the big picture, would defy human nature once they acclimate themselves once again to their own little corner of the world once again.

Re: Would people wage war if they knew how big the universe

Unread postPosted: Sun Nov 30, 2014 11:38 am
by Ranbir
Unless all resource issues get resolved, I imagine conflict will always arise.

Re: Would people wage war if they knew how big the universe

Unread postPosted: Tue Dec 02, 2014 6:45 pm
by DragonAtma
Gray Riders wrote:I simply don't understand why he thinks understanding the size of the universe would have any effect on why wars are fought. His comment on killing people just to cross a line in the sand makes me think he doesn't understand why they're fought.

DragonAtma wrote:It's a bit like Richards Gatling's attempt to create a deadly gun to show how futile wars were. They still use a similar type today, a hundred and fifty years later, and wars still occur.

Pretty sure I read the same logic was used about bombers, too.

Edit: For further clarification, I'm of the mind that most (not all) wars are fought for either greed (for resources or land or even income from trading or to forcibly open up markets) or hatred/revenge. I don't really think understanding the cosmic insignificance any nation ultimately has or how much there is to see out there would temper either of those reasons.


If it helps, they FINALLY had a wake-up call after Hiroshima & Nagasaki. Of course, there are still a whole bunch of lunatics who'd use nuclear weapons, but at least there's SOME progress.

Re: Would people wage war if they knew how big the universe

Unread postPosted: Fri Dec 05, 2014 3:57 pm
by Shozuhn
I fail to see how merely comprehending the universes size would eliminate war.
Perhaps the question posed implies that people are traveling between stars and finding numerous inhabitable planets with which to settle. I guess i could see how that could help prevent some wars.
But even if every faction/government had it's own planet, I think many would still be waging war against other planets. And I'm sure many would see splits in their own ranks and fight between themselves.
Unfortunately, people just seem to have a desire to wage war. And I don't see them ever stopping...